Draco awoke with a wide yawn. He sighed it out contentedly and opened his eyes. His husband was still fast asleep lying next to him. Even in his unconscious, disheveled state, Harry was a thing of beauty. His hair was covering part of his face, but Draco could still see the thick fringe of dark eyelashes.
The newly married Mr. Potter-Malfoy smiled, remembering the day-- and especially the night-- before. He recalled the urgency with which he had taken Harry as they tumbled into their wedding chamber. He reveled in the memory of sex by candlelight in the over-sized bath tub. His heart leapt, thinking about how he had been moved to tears when Harry tenderly made love to him. They fell asleep wrapped in one another’s arms just before dawn.
The clock read eleven twenty-three.
“Shit,” he said.
“Hmm,” Harry groaned in response.
“Morning love,” Draco grinned and leaned over to kiss the side of Harry’s head.
“Fuck, is it morning already?”
“Yes my love,” Draco cooed. “And I’ve got a bit of a problem that needs solving.”
“Didn’t we take care of that several times last night?”
“Well, you know, these sorts of problems arise all the time. They need proper attention or they’ll fester.” Draco kissed Harry’s neck, nipping at it gently. “We’re newlyweds, we’re supposed to shag a lot.”
“I’m still exhausted. And my arse needs some recovery time,” Harry smirked.
Draco pouted. “Fuck. Just a little one?” He held up his index finger and thumb in a pinching gesture.
“No, and we have only about half an hour ‘til we have to be at the Burrow,” Harry replied.
Laughing, Harry tugged at Draco’s arm. “Come on, we need to shower. Desperately.”
Draco resisted, but Harry was firm.
“We should be on our bloody honeymoon,” Draco grumbled. “Not attending what’s sure to be the most uncomfortable family brunch ever.”
Reluctantly, he allowed Harry to pull him along to the loo.
Looking around, Harry bit his lip. “Don’t look at the walls. We don’t have time to shag.”
“Surely we could be a little late,” Draco smirked.
“At this point, we’re already going to be late,” Harry said, gently shoving the nude man into the shower. He turned the water on, accidentally dousing Draco with a shot of cool water.
“Bollocks! You did that on purpose.” Draco jumped out of the stream.
“I really didn’t,” Harry laughed. “But it worked. And see, the water’s warming up already.”
With great difficulty, they restrained themselves from having sex in the shower. Though there was a bit of gratuitous touching under the guise of helping each other clean.
Dressed nicely, yet not in their Sunday best, Harry and Draco arrived at the Burrow twenty minutes late. Draco was more than a little surprised to see his parents there. He was certain they would make their excuses, seeing at it was a holiday.
Narcissa smiled and held her arms out to him.
“Darling.” She kissed his cheek and squeezed his hands when he approached, then turned to Harry. “I wasn’t sure if the two of you could tear yourselves away from each other long enough to come here.”
Lucius cleared his throat uncomfortably.
“Draco, what on earth are you wearing?” he asked.
“It’s called a jumper, Father.”
“I know that. Why aren’t you in robes? Please don’t tell me you attended services in that.”
Draco glanced at Harry. They’d had a discussion earlier that morning about proper attire. Harry had assured him that the Weasleys were casual, down to earth sorts, and that Draco’s jumper was proper attire. Most of the Weasleys themselves were dressed similarly.
“You know I haven’t attended services since I was a school boy,” Draco retorted. It was an unspoken challenge for his hypocritical father to criticize him.
Lucius simply snorted.
Draco knew his father was hardly reverent. He simply wanted to appear that way as a means to repair his reputation. And, as usual, he was looking to his son to accomplish that for him.
“Lucius,” Harry said, holding out his hand, diffusing the tension between father and son, and taking it upon himself.
Obligated to return the greeting, Lucius took his hand gingerly. “Potter.”
Harry smiled. “Potter-Malfoy,” he corrected.
Inwardly, Draco beamed. Harry had taken his name proudly and wasn’t letting Lucius get the better of him. It gave Draco the strength to do the same.
As they stood politely, Molly pushed her way out of the kitchen into the sitting room, a big grin on her face.
“Oh, Harry, I’m so glad you came. It’s been so long since you’ve come to a family meal.” She hugged him tightly.
“I know. I’ve just been really busy.”
“Well, you’ll have to try and make it again soon. You’re still part of the family, you know.”
Standing awkwardly off to the side, Draco was regretting that he and his parents agreed to such a ridiculous invitation. The families were able to pull together enough for the wedding, but it was too much to ask in such a small, intimate setting. And so out of the Malfoy element.
“And you, of course,” Molly said, interrupting Draco’s reverie.
“Sorry?” he was embarrassed to ask, as he wasn’t paying attention.
“You’ll come with Harry,” she repeated.
“Oh. Of course,” he blinked.
“You’re family too, now,” Molly smiled gently.
If he hadn’t been in the middle of the strangest crowd of wizards he’d ever found himself, he may have been in danger of becoming a teary mess. He blinked away the evidence of how much he was moved by Molly’s four simple words. It didn’t matter that some of the faces in the crowd didn’t share her sentiment. She was, for all intents and purposes, Harry’s mother. And though Narcissa had accepted Harry as Draco’s husband, he knew she didn’t think of him as a son.
“Thank you,” he meant to say, but it only came out as a whisper.
Luckily, Bill and his wife Fleur walked in the front door, drawing everyone’s attention.
“There are my darlings,” Molly beamed.
Victoire Weasley ran to her Grammy, arms wide. The little blonde was the spitting image of her mother. Her younger sister, Dominique, who appeared more Weasley than Delacour, held tight to her matching ginger father.
“Come now, Nikki,” Bill said gently. “Say hello to Grammy.”
Dominique shook her head and pressed her face into Bill’s neck.
“We are a bit overwhelming,” Arthur laughed. “Give the wee one a little time to warm up to us.”
Harry and Draco stood back, away from the hug fest that ensued.
“How many of them are there?” Draco asked in a hushed voice.
“There were seven. But Fred . . . died in the last battle,” Harry answered.
Draco nodded. He knew one of the children had perished, but wasn’t sure which one.
“Bill is the oldest. I haven’t seen him since before Victoire was born. Maybe five years ago,” Harry explained. “I think Dominique is about two.”
As Charlie hugged his brother, Harry pointed him out. “That’s Charlie. He’s next oldest. He works with dragons in Romania. Next is Percy. You might remember him from school.”
“Yes,” Draco replied. “Always seemed to have a stick up his arse.”
Laughing, Harry agreed. “But he’s loosened up a bit since then. His wife is Audrey. And I know you remember George and Angelina. They were only two years ahead of us.”
“I do. He’s the twin, right?”
Harry nodded sadly.
“All right, now that everyone is here, let’s eat,” Molly announced.
The dining room had been temporarily expanded to accommodate the extra guests. It had been quite a while since all of the Weasley children and their families were under the same roof. Charlie, being the only unmarried of the Weasley men, popped by his parent’s home more often than Bill or Percy, or George, who still lived nearby. However, even Charlie didn’t visit as often as Ron.
Molly was in her glory, cooking for her clan and doting on her first two grandchildren, Victoire and Dominique. Though George and Percy had both been married for several years, neither had yet begun a family. Ginny still lived at the Burrow, but was getting quite serious with her boyfriend.
“Lucius.” Arthur smiled politely. “Would you like to have a seat at the head of the table?” he asked graciously.
Lucius glanced at Narcissa, who shot him a look of warning. She had spoken to him earlier about being on his best behavior. He bowed his head respectfully. “Thank you.” He sat down in the seat Arthur had pulled out.
Narcissa sat to Lucius’ left. Draco sighed and assumed it would be best for him to sit next to his father to spare anyone else the unpleasant task. The Weasleys filled in the other spots from the opposite end of the table, leaving a place for Harry beside Draco.
Arthur took a few a pancakes from a large platter and began to pass it around. There was homemade lemon curd and raspberry jam to spread, along with rich and creamy Devonshire cream. Soon, dishes of bangers, bacon, potato hash and eggs were passed from one end of the table to the other.
“Mum, I can’t believe you made eggy bread,” Charlie commented. “You never make that.”
“It’s a special day,” Molly explained. “I made all of Ron’s favorites, including the tomatoes.”
“I like the tomatoes, too,” George said. “You never make them for me.”
“Maybe I would if you came ‘round once in a while,” Molly smirked.
“I’m busy, Mum. The shop can’t run itself.”
Ignoring that excuse, Molly looked to her new daughter in law. “Hermione dear, aren’t you hungry?”
“What? Oh, yes. Um . . .” she looked to Ron. He leaned and whispered in her ear. Hermione simply nodded.
“Okay,” Ron stood. “Right, well, we weren’t going to say anything just yet, but . . . I’m afraid poor Mione might hurl if Mum makes her eat something. So . . . we’re going to have a baby.” Ron waited for the inappropriate comments, particularly from George, about how he and Hermione put the cart before the horse.
Molly couldn’t get out of her chair fast enough to hug them. Arthur raised a glass to the couple.
“To our third grandchild,” he grinned proudly.
“Fourth,” Percy interrupted.
“What?” Molly questioned.
“Well, I guess it depends,” Percy said. “When are you two due?”
Ron pursed his lips. It wasn’t as if he and Hermione hadn’t enough attention in the past several months. But it would have been nice if Percy had waited a little bit, at least.
“Mione’s due at the beginning of November.”
Percy smirked smugly. “End of September.”
“Oh, it doesn’t matter,” Molly exclaimed. “Just keep them coming.”
Looking across the table, Draco noticed a melancholy smile on his mother’s face. He didn’t need to strain himself figuring out why. As if there weren’t enough Weasleys, two new family members would be added before the end of the year. The paltry Malfoy family may or may not grow, and may even end with Draco. Not only that, there were precious few Blacks as well. The other side of his ancestry was down to himself and Teddy Lupin.
The conversation during the meal was dominated by babies, pregnancy and birth -- a subject which made more than one man at the table uncomfortable. After most of the food had been eaten, Molly began packing up some things for each of her children to take with them. She handed Harry a small package of eggy bread for him and Draco to take back to Hogwarts. While the women mostly stayed in the kitchen helping Molly or chatting, the men retired to the sitting room.
“What are we doing now?” Draco whispered to Harry. “Can’t we leave?”
“Molly hasn’t brought out tea and pudding yet,” Harry answered. “Besides, the conversation in here won’t be all about babies and such.”
Draco sighed heavily.
“Come on, it will only be a little longer.” Harry batted his eyelashes. “And Ron and Hermione are still here. I’m sure they’d rather be off on their honeymoon.”
“A little while longer.” Draco resigned himself to his fate.
The only bright spot was that his parents were saying their farewells. He wouldn’t have minded his mother staying, but it was best that his father left before he was able to embarrass Draco. Lucius was more cordial than Draco thought he could be, and Narcissa graciously accepted the package of homemade crumpets Molly handed her. The younger Malfoy wondered if it would make it into their kitchen before it was tossed.
After their goodbyes, Harry took Draco’s hand and led him into the sitting room. Arthur was in his favorite armchair, with his older sons on the sofa. George and Ron sat on the floor near the coffee table, and Harry joined them. Draco took a seat in a comfy chair off in the corner.
“Dad,” Percy approached his father. “Audrey isn’t feeling well. We’re going to leave.”
Arthur stood and gave him a hug. “Don’t be strangers.”
“We won’t. But Audrey’s healer recommended she not apparate while pregnant. So we use muggle transport nowadays. It takes so much longer.”
“Just come when you can, then,” Arthur smiled. “You know how your mother gets when the house is empty for too long. She misses the big Sunday suppers.”
Percy nodded. “We’ll try.”
In the meantime, George and Charlie were having a lively debate about Quidditch. George was a Puddlemere United fan, like Harry, while Charlie rooted for the Chudley Cannons. Harry mentioned that he and Draco had seen Ginny play the Ballycastle Bats in autumn-- the game in which she had been injured slightly. It started a lively debate as to whether Finbar Quigley was one of the best Beaters ever to play the game. Harry enthusiastically agreed that he was.
“Perhaps you misunderstood Harry,” George chuckled. “We’re talking about his skills on the Quidditch pitch, not how well he wanks.”
Harry laughed at the good-natured teasing. “I don’t see why it can’t be both.”
Like Ron and Hermione, the rest of the Weasleys accepted Harry’s announcement of his homosexuality in stride. Though they enjoyed teasing him from time to time, George in particular, it was never meant to be hurtful.
Draco watched and listened from his place in the corner. It seemed whenever his family brought up the subject, there was always a hint of disgust or disappointment, especially from his father. Rita Skeeter’s articles about him didn’t help any. As he sat, apart from the others, he wondered if Harry’s adopted family had read those articles and had a good laugh at Draco’s expense.
He was beginning to get a headache when he realized his jaw was clenched and he was scowling.
No wonder no one wants to talk to me, he thought.
Forcing himself to relax, he was about to get up and make himself a drink when a small ginger haired child toddled over to him. He smiled in spite of himself.
The little girl thrust a book at him and proceeded to try and crawl up into the chair with him. Apparently, Draco was the only adult not engaged in conversation, and was therefore available to read to her.
“Um . . . Harry?” Draco called, at a loss. “What do I do?”
Harry chuckled at Draco’s discomfort. “She’s brought you a book. Read to her.” He smiled. “I wonder how she knew you were excellent at reading aloud.”
“Dominique honey, leave the man alone.” Bill stood to retrieve his daughter.
“No,” Draco said. “It’s all right.” It occurred to him that if he was busy reading, he wouldn’t be asked to join in with the rest of the men.
He moved over, thankful that he was lithe enough to fit the girl next to him. He picked up the book and saw that it was one of his childhood favorites. Draco hadn’t read it since he was a young boy.
It was a story about a baby dragon who got separated from his mother and set off to find her. The words were simple, but the illustrations were remarkable. The dragon’s wings sparkled and were raised from the surface of the page. Draco gently ghosted his fingers over the image on the cover. Dominique mimicked him with her chubby fingers. He’d almost forgotten that the toddler was sitting next to him.
He opened the cover and began to read.
“High in the Carpathian Mountains of Romania, a dragon was born. His mother named him Verde, for he was the most brilliant shade of green.”
Draco glanced up to Harry, who was speaking animatedly about something with Ron. He smiled to himself, thinking about he’d have to give more thought to the connection between the dragon in the book and Harry’s eyes. Perhaps there had been more than one reason Draco had been captivated by them.
He turned the page, amazed that the child beside him sat still, perusing the page with her eyes.
“Every morning, Verde and his mother went out to the grassy land near Lake Bucura. There, they caught their breakfast of mice or fish.”
During a lull in the chatting, Harry’s eye wandered to his love. Draco looked up briefly as he read, returning the smile on Harry’s face. He continued the story in his melodic tone, changing his voice for the different characters. His voice was entertaining yet soothing, and little Nikki had soon sunk herself into Draco’s side. By the time he had reached the end of the book, the toddler had fallen fast asleep.
Molly appeared in the archway from the kitchen.
“Pudding!” she called out.
Nearly the entire group of men in unison whispered, “Sshhh.”
“We don’t want to wake the little princess,” Arthur told her in a hushed voice.
“The darling,” Molly cooed.
Startled by Molly’s original shout, Nikki’s eyes sprang open. Before Bill could even make a move to get her, Draco put a protective arm around her. He whispered a gentle shush, encouraging the girl to fall back asleep. Her head bobbed briefly, then dropped into Draco’s chest.
In a quiet voice, Bill said, “I’ll have Fleur come get her.”
“Let her sleep,” Draco said. Then it occurred to him that Bill Weasley might not want his daughter sleeping cradled next to a former Death Eater. “Unless you’d rather she didn’t.”
Bill appeared to give it some thought, then glanced at Harry. “If you’re certain it’s not an imposition.”
Draco shook his head.
“I’ll get you something from the kitchen,” Harry sprang up and offered Draco.
When he and Bill were out of Draco’s earshot, Harry said, “Thank you.”
“For what?” Bill asked.
“I know it must be difficult for all of you to have Draco and his parents here.”
Bill grunted noncommittally.
“So, I appreciate you not making a fuss over Draco sitting with your daughter. He really is a changed man.”
Nodding, Bill agreed. “He’s been nothing but a gentleman today. Even his father wasn’t as much of a prick as I thought he’d be,” he laughed.
“Oh, he’s still a prick,” Harry snickered. “But he was on his best behavior.”
“Well, I didn’t really want to wake Nikki anyway. She can be a real bugger when she hasn’t had enough sleep.” Bill paused. “And I hate to admit that she seemed to take to him. Nikki doesn’t warm to strangers easily. Hell, it takes her a while just to let Mum give her a hug. I suppose he’ll make a decent father someday.”
Harry sighed. “I don’t know if that will ever happen.”
“You’re not planning to start a family? Mum will never have it. She expects grandchildren from all of us, you included,” Bill told him.
“The logistics are a bit more complicated for us.”
“But there are options.”
“I know. It’s not only logistics, though. Draco doesn’t think he wants to be a father. Ever.”
“Oh.” Bill furrowed his brow. “And what about you?”
“Maybe not now, but I always thought someday I’d like to have children. I’ve enjoyed the time I’ve spent with Teddy over the years.”
“Well, it would be a shame if you didn’t get a chance to be a father. My girls are my joy. In fact, Fleur and I are planning to have another in the next year or two.”
“That’s wonderful,” Harry said. He tried to sound enthusiastic, but deep down he was a little sad. And jealous.
Bill picked up a plate to help Victoire choose some treats, while Harry loaded up a plate for Draco and himself to share. Draco didn’t have much of a sweet tooth, but Molly had made a cinnamon crumb cake he thought Draco would like.
“How’s it going in there?” Hermione appeared beside him.
“Fine,” he answered.
“Really?” She glanced around. “Is he a bit overwhelmed?”
Chuckling, Harry replied, “Probably. But that’s not why he didn’t come into the kitchen. Dominique fell asleep in his lap and he didn’t want to wake her.”
Her eyebrows rose sharply. “Nikki? On Draco’s lap? She’ll hardly sit with Ron. Although, I suppose Ron is so uneasy around children that she senses the fear,” Hermione laughed.
“I thought Draco would be too. But he seemed quite content reading to her. He’s very good at reading aloud.”
Hermione gave him a questioning look.
“We read to each other on Sunday mornings. It’s become a routine.” Harry blushed, omitting the second part of that Sunday routine, which usually ended in some sort of shagging.
“That sounds lovely,” she sighed. “I’m afraid Ron would just fall asleep. He’s not very bookish.”
Nodding, Harry went on. “I confess that I did as well, until Draco began picking out books about Quidditch or something else of interest to both of us. Occasionally, he still reads poetry or romantic novels-- or at least he tries. His voice is so calming, I still fall asleep sometimes.” He played with the hem of his shirt and lowered his voice. “Or it sounds so erotic, it makes me randy. Either way, we don’t get much read.”
Hermione giggled and covered her mouth. “I’ll try to get books on Quidditch,” she said. “But I might try the poetry, too.” She nudged Harry.
“I imagine the two of you don’t need help in that department.”
She giggled again, still in the clouds from the wedding, and placed her hand over her belly. “No, I suppose not.”
“Well, I’d better get back to him.”
When Harry walked into the sitting room, George and Charlie were having a quiet discussion about the new dragons that were born only two months ago. Arthur was listening, munching away on pumpkin bread. Ron was doing the same, resembling his father more than ever before.
Harry smiled at his adopted family. He felt as much a Weasley as any of them, even without the ginger hair. Taking a step toward Draco with his plate, he stopped for a moment. Draco hadn’t noticed him, and was tenderly smoothing the hair away from Dominique’s face. Their positions had changed slightly from when Harry left the room, and the toddler was now siting fully on Draco’s lap with her head cradled in the crook of his arm.
Setting the plate down, Harry crouched in front of the pair.
“She looks so sweet,” he whispered.
Draco nodded. “I almost hate to give her back,” he said, so softly, Harry barely heard him.
For a brief moment, Harry imagined this same scenario, but with their own child. His heart suddenly ached for something he was never sure he wanted in the first place. The moment was ruined when Victoire ran into the room screaming about wanting more cream on her pie. Fleur followed closely behind, scolding her.
Dominique startled awake, took one look at Draco and began to cry. Fat tears rolled down her cheeks as her eyes shut tightly. The look of panic on Draco’s face may have been funny under different circumstances.
“Oh, poor baby,” Fleur said, temporarily forgetting her eldest daughter’s tantrum. “Mummy’s so sorry.”
She scooped Nikki into her arms and gave Draco an apologetic look. Bill strode into the room to take the toddler while Fleur finished scolding Victoire.
“Looks like that’s our cue to leave,” Bill said. “It’s time for Victoire’s nap. If only we could get these two on the same schedule.”
He turned to Draco, who was standing up to finally stretch his legs.
“Thank you. I’m sorry for the imposition,” Bill said, holding out his hand.
Draco took it and shook. “My pleasure. You have beautiful children.”
“Thanks. Oh, and congratulations again. Harry,” Bill turned to him for a handshake.
“Take care Bill. Lovely to see you Fleur,” Harry called to her as she ushered Victoire out the door.
“Bye all!” she called out, clearly in a hurry to get the still screaming child out of the house.
Draco walked up behind Harry and put his arms around his waist. He whispered in his ear, “Can we go now, too?”
“Yes. We can go now,” Harry replied.
They said their goodbyes to those who were left, and took the eggy bread, plus some sweets with them. When they got back to Hogwarts, most of the students were still on break, as well as some teachers, and the whole building seemed quiet.
“You were absolutely amazing today,” Harry said.
“Was I?” Draco smirked. “I think your standards of amazing have fallen a bit. All I did was sit in a corner and read a children’s book.”
“You did much more than that and you know it.”
“Enlighten me,” Draco smiled.
“You only won over the entire Weasley clan with your charm. Not to mention keeping your father in check.”
“Well, I seem to have won over the youngest member of the clan, at any rate.”
“Not only her,” Harry said, pulling Draco close and putting his arms around his neck. “You heard Molly. You’re now a family member. And I’m pretty sure Bill and Fleur weren’t the only ones impressed with your nanny skills.” Harry’s demeanor became serious. “I told you that you would be a wonderful father.”
Attempting to break from Harry’s hold, Draco dismissed the compliment. “Reading to a child and letting her sleep in my lap doesn’t make me a good father. Or a father of any sort. Perhaps I’d be an adequate babysitter . . .” He broke free.
“You won’t give it some thought?”
“We just got married yesterday. The only thoughts I’m having right now involve ropes and a dildo,” Draco said. He meant to lighten the mood, but sounded more annoyed to Harry.
“But . . .” Harry sighed heavily. “You looked like you . . . longed for it. If I hadn’t known better, I would have thought you were envious of Bill and Fleur.”
“Except that you do know better. If anything, I was envious of the child. My parents didn’t read to me. I read that very book to myself as soon as I learned how. My parents were too busy being secret Death Eaters and hosting high society in our home. I wouldn’t know the first thing about being father. I had no good role model.”
Draco’s hands were clenched by his side, and Harry could see that the conversation was going nowhere. He could have pointed out that he himself was raised by a horrid man, but it wasn’t going to stop him from being the best father he could be. But Harry didn’t want to push Draco.
“All right,” Harry said gently. “We don’t have to talk about it. You’re right, it’s much too soon to even think about. We need time to be together. Just you and me.”
Draco allowed Harry to put his arms back around him. They hugged for a long time. Harry thought he should have realized what a stressful day it had been for his husband. While Harry was very much at home in the Burrow, Draco felt a stranger-- someone who was being judged. On top of that, he had to head off his father’s comments before they turned to insults. Though Lucius most likely thought himself perfectly charming.
It had taken Draco years to accept that perhaps he was good enough for Harry Potter. Harry wondered how long it would take for him to realize he was good enough to raise their children.
“I’m sorry,” Draco said when they pulled apart. “I’m just trying to be completely open and honest with you. You deserve that.”
“We both do,” Harry said. He leaned forward and kissed Draco, quickly building to a fevered pace. “So, about those ropes . . .”